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Why English?

​Fifty Shades of English Major


Careers for the English Major 

Following is a list of jobs culled from Monster.com and other career web sites where an English degree is a desired qualification.  Why?  Because English majors

  1. have learned to read carefully, paying close attention to the precise meaning of words;
  2. have learned to research, analyze, and organize contradictory pieces of evidence to facilitate problem solving;
  3. have learned to work under pressure, write clearly, and defend responses;
  4. have learned to contribute to discussions and make contributions to small groups;
  5. have learned, from literature, to empathize with the psychology, motivations, and challenges of different persons;
  6. have experienced through literature various cultures, ethnicities, religions, and races, and are sensitive to, and appreciative of, issues confronting a diverse population.

Typical Career Paths for English Majors

English majors who are sure they want to follow careers in the following should consult graduate school qualifications in these specific fields to decide what supplemental under-graduate course work is needed.


Business/Advertising

Corporate business always needs public relations correspondents, researchers, writers, and high-level administrative assistants.  An English major is often preferred in any of these positions for graduate work in business particularly in management, finance, and marketing.  Possibilities include:

  • Marketing Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Headhunter
  • Executive Assistant
  • Advertising Director
  • Media Buyer
  • Software Engineer
  • Web Developer
  • Human Resources
  • Proposal Writer/Manager
  • Technical Writer 

Law

Most law schools consider an English major to be ideal for the prelaw student.  Lawyers spend a great deal of time writing, researching, and paying close attention to language.  Possibilities—other than lawyer—include the following:

  •  Judge

  •  Paralegal

  •  Court Reporter

  •  Court Interpreter

Education

Students interested in teaching at the elementary, secondary, or college levels are often English or Humanities majors.  Opportunities other than K-12 teacher include:

  • College Professor          
  • Principal K-12
  • GED Instructor
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Textbook Writer

Publishing

Often English majors go into the publishing business or freelance as editors, proofreaders, or general essay writers.  The English major is ideal for entering graduate work in journalism or

communications; becoming an investigative journalist, critic, correspondent, or researcher in television, newspaper, and magazine worlds.  Other obvious choices include:

  • Book Agent
  • Newspaper Editor
  • Magazine Editor
  • Columnist
  • Sports Reporter
  • Textbook Rep

Sciences 

Scientific writers and documentarists are required in all industrial, engineering, computer, and medical fields. 

  • Science Journalist
  • Technical Writer
  • Science Journal
  • Proofreader/editor
  • AI and Robotics
  • Design

Psychology and Theology

An undergraduate major in English for entrance to graduate school in psychology or theological seminaries is most appropriate.  To a large degree, literature is the study of the psyche, inter-personal relationships, and moral dilemmas. 

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Magazine/Journal              
  • Writer or Editor
  •  Social Worker

The Arts: Film, Music, Television

The core of the entertainment industry centers around writing at many different levels having to do with scripts:

  • Film/TV Editor
  • Film/TV Writer
  • Film/TV Producer
  • Story Editor
  • Associate Producer
  • Lyricist
  • Music Editor
  •  Film Archivist

Video Game Industry

A burgeoning field in the tech industry, particularly in OC, is an excellent career opportunity for English majors because game designers may have the coding skills, but need help with narrative structure, character development, and intuitive reading patterns in their users.  This industry has hired English majors for the following: 

  • Creative Writers
  • Story Editors
  • Technical Writers
  •  Marketing
  •  Advertising        

Careers for English Majors


English for Pre-Med Major

A surprising trend in the medical field for English majors is noted by Dorothy Bestor in her book Aside from Teaching, What in the World Can I Do?  Bestor cites a survey where four out of five physicians arrived at a similar consensus that "literature should be a part of the training of every clinician, as a way of sharpening both his analytic and empathetic powers."  Recent articles on NPR and Business Insider explain that Med Schools like Mount Sinai and UC Davis are accepting Humanities Majors into their med schools at a rate of 46% with English being the most common of those accepted without Science degree backgrounds.  English majors also tend to score significantly higher on the MCAT exams.  Regarding his desire for English majors in his programs, Mount Sinai's dean of Medical Education states "People who look at the same problems through different lenses will make us better in the long run." 


Why So Many Doctors Were English Majors in College